What are you doing right now (besides reading this article, obviously)? Take a look around your desk. Do you have scraps of paper — a notebook, maybe — with little drawings floating around the page? What if I told you that you could make money by drawing a little bit every day? Well it’s true, you can make money by doodling everyday objects – you just have to go the extra mile to reach potential customers. Once you’ve fine-tuned your unique doodle style you can make some extra cash by selling on Creative Market, Etsy, or by building an online brand via Instagram. Let’s break down the process to getting started.
The gist of this whole thing goes like this: UX designers, web designers, app developers and more are always looking for little icons to use in their work. Pull out your smartphone real quick and open up pretty much anything. If there’s an icon in the app that’s used to indicate a menu, option, button, or whatever, then somebody needed to design that icon. And sure, you can find icons all over the place to use, but since other designers are already using them, it gets pretty boring.Nobody wants to use the same thing as everybody else, so they look for alternatives — you know, like hand drawn icons. Plus, other drawings and illustrations can be turned into website assets, and even your handwriting can become a font. That means pretty much everything that you’re sketching onto that scrap piece of paper can be turned into something that can make you some extra money. And who doesn’t like making money for doing something they love?
How do you make this happen? First, you have to vectorize your drawings, which sounds a lot harder than it actually is. You can do this in a variety of different ways, from using an app on your smartphone that converts a picture into a vector (Adobe Capture CC does this, for example), or scanning your work and then pulling that into a vector-based program such as Adobe Illustrator, and then tracing out your work. Point is, it may seem daunting to do, but it’s really super easy.
There are over 4,000+ hand drawn products on Creative Market alone, which gives you an idea of the size of the market. One shop, WINS, doodles everything from house plants to festive party favors. That’s a shop that’s all draws all the time, including stuff like this.
And there are other examples, too. Creative Stall has a load of cool stuff, like this selection of 250+ Finance doodles.
Like dogs? Of course you do, and here’s another selection of dog drawings that’s selling right now.
Certain types of doodles that are in higher demand than others, like map icons, hipster coffee-ware, and hand-drawn fonts. Just think about what you could create and sell on your own, just by taking your everyday doodles one step further. You don’t have to go after every single corner of the market, but chances are there’s someone who needs illustrations of something you really love to draw.
Opening a new shop on a site like Creative Market is simple. It’s a good idea to have a few samples of your work ready to go, and using the daily exercises from 28 to Make is a great jumping off point. Every month, Creative Market has a discounted bundle of cool products that they handpick from across their platform, and this month is no different.
The Etsy process is similar, just set up a shop and start thinking about how your library of daily drawings can become art prints. Hand-written quotes or favorite sayings tend to do really well. You can also capitalize on trends like this awesome Star Wars art (trend #1) that’s being sold as a coloring book for adults (trend #2). Take time to explore the marketplace and look at stuff you love, what’s trending, and market gaps your shop can fill.
Finally, Instagram has increasingly become the space to build your portfolio and online following. It’s a great platform to interact with fans and ideally turn them into customers. Link to your contact information and online shop in your bio section to capture inbound requests. This is also a great platform to explore your creativity. Curious how your audience will respond to something new? Try it out on Instagram!
Join Rhode Island School of Design instructor, Mary Jane Begin, to develop your understanding of color, composition, meaning, mood, and expression. Learn More.
Take a moment to think about how you can make money drawing stuff you love. Doodle daily and spend a few minutes vectorizing your drawings. Upload to your platform of choice and voila! Get out there and keep creating!